• Sat. Nov 26th, 2022

California’s recycling rate is falling, according to new report

ByPatricia S. Stevens

Nov 24, 2022

Because construction and demolition (C&D) waste made up nearly 52 percent of its landfill’s buried waste between January and September of this year, Pitkin County, Colorado established the C&D Debris Diversion Program, which aims to separate C&D materials from the diverting landfill that will fill up in eight years, reports the Aspen Daily News.

According to Pitkin County, a 2016 analysis of the county’s landfilled waste stream found that 35 percent of landfilled construction and demolition material could have been recovered.

The program provides tiered tipping fees for construction and demolition materials that increase as tonnage increases:

  • Tier 1 – for zero to 30 tons, the cost is $98.25/ton
  • Stage 2 – for 31-60 tons, the cost is $118.25/ton
  • Tier 3 – for 61 tons or more, the cost is $138.25/ton
  • Tier 4 – for mixed waste loads, including trash and recyclables, the cost is $198.25 per ton.

However, the county is giving a break to contractors who source their materials separately. Source-separated loads do not count towards the tiered tonnage limits and are cheaper to dispose of, says the district.

Tips for separated C&D materials range from $10.50-$15 per ton for rocks and dirt to $45 per ton for clean wood, concrete and porcelain, as well as lighter organic materials such as tree branches. There is no fee for cardboard and scrap metal loads being recycled, the county says.

To participate in the program, contractors must pay a deposit of $1,000 per tonne of their estimated waste, which is refunded if they divert at least 25 percent of their construction and demolition materials, the Aspen Daily News reports. Of the deposits paid this year, approximately $8,500 has not been refunded.

The district has also implemented its Green Halo Dashboard, a system that participating contractors use to demonstrate their diversion rate. The system also collects data for all participating projects in Pitkin County and provides a snapshot of the county’s C&D diversion data.

However, the Aspen Daily News reports that the City of Aspen and the City of Snowmass Village are not participating in the program, lowering the county’s diversion rate and shortening the lifespan of the landfill.

The newspaper quotes Pitkin County C&D diversion specialist Michael Port as saying that 20 percent of the county’s C&D projects participated in the diversion program, affecting the overall diversion rate. The county is considering expanding the program and is requiring incorporated areas to participate.